The province of British Columbia is home to the magnificent Rocky Mountains and the Columbia mountain range, along with numerous valleys, lakes, rivers, glaciers, forty different species of trees, more than five hundred bird species, plenty of grizzly and black bears, moose, deer, and much more. This means that there is plenty to see while you are travelling, and what better way to view the magnificent scenery and wildlife available than by riding the rails. From short, unique trips to multi-day journeys, you can easily find a train ride to suit your desires.
Kettle Valley Steam Railway
In the lovely Okanagan, near Summerland, you will find ten miles of preserved railway track that provides an opportunity to ride the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway. Built between 1910 and 1015, this railway opened the route to the coast for the fruit trade in the region to reach world markets. The ride will take you through the beautiful scenery of the area, like orchards and vineyards, and allow you to have sweeping views of the lake region while giving you an unforgettable experience. Choose to reserve a seat on the regular train, or experience one of their specialty train rides, such as the Great Train Robbery, The Christmas Express, or the Murder Mystery Train!
Kamloops Heritage Railway
If you love trains, an outing to the Heritage Railway is a must do if you are in the Kamloops area. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, youcan enjoy a ride on this one of a kind steam locomotive. The ride itself is only about an hour long, but you never know who you may encounter during your journey as there are lots of characters who may join you to create an unforgettable adventure. Fare includes the train ride, entertainment, a snack, and a drink. Check the website for Family nights, the Sip and Steam Wine Train, the Ghost train days in the fall, and Christmas trains in December.
Fraser Valley Heritage Railway
Located in Surrey, this short train ride will take you along the original BC Electric Railway. The history of this line is interesting and the society that runs it had to track down the original trains that had operated here. Passenger service was started on the line on October 3, 1910 and when it was completed it was possible to ride from downtown Vancouver out to Chilliwack.Ride a piece of the historic track and imagine yourself back in the early days of electricity. You can ride on Train 1225 on Saturdays and Sundays for a round trip of just under an hour, through the surrounding farm lands and on to Sullivan Station. At the Cloverdale Station you also have the chance to ride behind a Speeder, a fun and unique way of riding the rails.
Rocky Mountaineer Railtours
Rocky Mountaineer has been a fixture on the tracks through British Columbia for the past thirty years. They offer three rail routes with a wide variety of packages to take you through the beautiful scenery of the province. Only travelling during the day so that you don’t miss any of the views or potential wildlife sightings, there are two different classes of service to choose from – Redleaf and Goldleaf. You need to note though, that all train journeys start in British Columbia but end in Alberta (or vice versa). Of course, you can always choose a round trip journey instead, to start and end in Vancouver. Enjoy the “First Passage to the West” which travels from Vancouver to Kamloops and on to Banff and Lake Louise; or choose the “Journey through the Clouds” to enjoy the views between Vancouver and Kamloops and then on to Jasper; or travel through the incredible vistas from Vancouver to Whistler, to Quesnel, and ending in Jasper on the “Rainforest to Gold Rush” route.
Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway
Another short but interesting train ride, this one will take you into the depths of the mountain to experience an underground journey through the mine. Here you will ride the rails through the beautiful Mark Creek valley as you listen to the history of Kimberley and the Sullivan Mine, and there are opportunities to view wildlife in the area. Along with the uniqueness of the train, you will not regret the ride as you take in the spectacular views of the region.
Alberni Pacific Railway, E&N Train Station
A short but beautiful and historic ride on a completely restored 1929 Baldwin ex-logging locomotive that departs from the 1912 CPR Station in Port Alberni. From here you ride out to the McLean Mill National Historic Site along tracksthat wind through the city and then through the pretty, surrounding forests for 35 minutes each way.
Burnaby Central Railway
We must include this one because it is completely fun and very unique. Not a traditional railway, the Burnaby Central Railway is one of the premier miniature railways in Canada. Started way back in 1929 by a group of miniature train lovers, this society has moved into a larger area, allowing visitors to be able to ride over two miles of main line and experience the tunnels, bridges, crossovers and spirals that have been added over the years. Please note this is a seasonal site and only runs on weekends. Check their website for prices and opening hours.
West Coast Railway Heritage Park
A historic site in Squamish that is based on the termination of the railway connecting east to west in the country, the Locomotive #374 that resides at this site played a major part in the expansion of the railway as it hauled the first passenger train, carrying 150 passengers, to go beyond Port Moody over the 12 mile extension to Vancouver on May 23rd, 1887, thus finally joining Canada by rail. You can also enjoy themed train rides like Thomas the Train, the Polar Express, the Magic Pumpkin Patch, High Tea, and the Dinner Train.
As Canada’s first passenger train service, VIA Rail has a lot of history of travel throughout the country.Established back in 1977 by the Canadian government, VIA Rail has spent the last few years upgrading and updating their services to be able to provide a fantastic journey for all their passengers. Travellers can choose from a variety of service levels, including a sleeper car or a panoramic touring car for one of the unique journeys through B.C. There are some main journeys that will take you through the province, including Vancouver – Kamloops – Jasper, AB – Edmonton, AB; or the unique and gorgeous journey from Jasper, AB – Prince George – Prince Rupert. Of course, you can reserve short portions of these longer routes if you choose to. Sit back, relax and enjoy every moment of the beautiful views.